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EA: World of Warcraft a "silent movie"

And Star Wars: The Old Republic "is the first talkie".

EA has confidently proclaimed its in development massively multiplayer game Star Wars: The Old Republic will cause a sizeable number of World of Warcraft players to jump ship.

"We're going right at it," EA boss John Riccitiello said at the Goldman Sachs conference (reported by Industry Gamers).

"We want share, we want leadership position here. I'm not expecting to sort of knock them over, but... We're gonna get a big chunk of [their market]."

Blizzard's World of Warcraft is the most popular subscription-based massively multiplayer role-playing game in the world, with over 12 million active paying customers across the world.

BioWare Austin's Star Wars: The Old Republic, due out after April this year and before the end of 2011, marks the Mass Effect maker's first attempt at the MMO genre.

But EA is confident it can compete where so many have failed and take World of Warcraft on at its own game.

"In a way, theirs is a silent movie and ours is the first talkie," Riccitiello said. "By and large, theirs is not a voiced MMO. Ours is a fully voiced MMO in multiple languages."

Earlier this month Riccitiello was less bullish about his Star Wars MMO, telling investors that half a million subscribers would make The Old Republic "substantially profitable". Anything "north" of one million would be a "very profitable business".

"So it's our view that we can be very successful without fundamentally challenging the market leader [World of Warcraft] because we think we'll probably hit the smaller competitors harder when we get out there," he said at the time.

"Of course, we have no particular ambition to be a distant number two. Our ambitions are higher than that, but we throttle back a little bit relative to our financial projections."

EA is rumoured to have spent more than $300 million on The Old Republic, and last month EA's investors were said to be "betting against" the BioWare developed MMO.